Soledad O’Brien Tears Into Surgeon General For Preposterous Claims — Including That Trump Is Healthier Than Himself

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Former CNN anchor, current executive producer, and talk show host Soledad O’Brien criticized comments from U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Sunday, resulting in a back-and-forth between the two in which O’Brien appeared to suggest Adams was not a credible voice during the coronavirus crisis.

During an interview with Adams on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the Surgeon General encouraged state governors who hadn’t yet enforced stay-at-home orders to do so, telling them, “you got to do your part.” Adams’ comments come as President Donald Trump has notably defended governors for not issuing out such orders.

O’Brien took issue with the statement, and pointed out that Adams had early on said that coronavirus was not anything to worry over. She found a tweet of his demonstrating as much, in which the Surgeon General had written a poem about the importance of a flu shot versus getting worked up over COVID-19.

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The tweet from Adams was important as it encouraged people to get flu shots, which are needed, but it downplayed the worry early on for coronavirus.

Adams responded to O’Brien, saying at the time he was making commentary based on what he and others knew about the virus:

“Ma’am: you’ve met me. You know I always try to give the best information I can based on the best available evidence. Circumstances change but was a true statement at the time it was made.”

Adams’ statement doesn’t fit with historical record. His tweet, which was written on February 1, came a day after the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global emergency.

O’Brien responded to the tweet with Adams by pointing out that he was not a reliable voice for people to listen to during the crisis, notably because he frequently praised the president in spite of Trump’s many errant and misleading comments about the virus.

“Sir: you are a medical professional and a public health professional. Your job is not to suck up to the President of the United States, but [to provide] factual information,” O’Brien said.

She pointed out to a specific instance of him inappropriately heaping praise onto Trump.

“Your quote: The President ‘is healthier than what I am’ was obviously untrue. You undermine the public trust, sir,” O’Brien said.

Adams is 45 years old. Trump is 73 years old, and though he’s often received positive health assessments from his doctors, many have questioned whether they’re as accurate as he claims them to be, especially since he’s technically obese.